With the scorching hot sun these days, it’s time for iced-cold drinks, barbeque socials, and outdoor activities. In the midst of all the excitement, aim to keep your health in check.
Previously, we discussed unhealthy ingredients in ready marinate sauces or spice packets, and shared a simple, yet mouthwatering recipe you can make in the comfort of your own kitchen.
When it comes to dips and appetizers, try to choose those high in protein, such as hummus, baba ghanoush or other bean dips. They’re much better options than nacho cheese, cream cheese based dips, such as artichoke spinach dip, or other store-bought dips. Fill your plate with fresh vegetables if that’s an option, as well as salad and tabouli. That leaves less room for unhealthy foods, such as processed meat and crackers, deep-fried appetizers, or casseroles loaded with just cheese and meat. When it comes to the grilled food, the star of the show, reach for grilled vegetables, and lean meats such as chicken, salmon, or even shrimp. Meat chunks are definitely much better options than hot dogs and other processed meat, which are best if avoided due to the detrimental health consequences they cause. Heavily processed meat, such as hot dogs, are loaded with saturated fats, excessive sodium, and harmful preservatives such as nitrates. Instead, reach for wholesome options, such as lamb kafta, chicken skewers, or grilled mushrooms.
Additionally, reach for the fruit first on the dessert table, and if you really need to have the pie aim for a small slice. Consuming fresh fruit, such as watermelon, will quench your thirst, reduce your cravings, and grant you satiety faster than desserts loaded with refined sugar, hydrogenated oils, and unhealthy fats. Store-bought desserts, such as ready pies, brownies, or cookies, will most likely come along with a long ingredient list, full of genetically engineered oils, refined sugars, hydrogenated oils, and preservatives detrimental to your health in many ways.
While it may be tempting to reach for the carbonated drinks laying beneath the ice in the cooler as you feel the sweat on your back, you’re better off reaching for water if you hope to prevent various health conditions from developing down the road. Be sure to hydrate properly, and replenish your cells with plenty of water during your outdoor activity of any kind.
Enjoy your vacations and family gatherings, but strive to make healthy choices to the best of your ability. Go ahead, enjoy a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade as you catch up with your friends and family at the next social!
10 lemons, freshly squeezed
1/3 cup organic maple syrup (or sweetener of your choice)
6 cups water
4 cups ice cups
½ cup fresh mint (optional)
Mix the lemons, maple syrup and water in a glass pitcher until well incorporated.
Add ice and mint leaves. Serve immediately for optimum taste. Enjoy!
Noor H. Salem is an author, speaker, and Certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, from Michigan. Noor works with clients in better understanding their bodies and healing with natural foods through her wellness practice, Holistic Noortrition. She presents various workshops, school lectures, group coaching classes, and community lectures on the topic of holistic health. Noor recently published her book, SUNNAH SUPERFOODS, a culmination of life-changing recipes and remedies, with a foreword by Dr. Waleed Basyouni. Her book consists of prophetic hadith, modern research, and delicious recipes, and is in the process of being translated into other languages.